Jade gemstones have been used to make carvings and jewelry for over 6,000 years!
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There are two types of jade - nephrite, which is the more common type and jadeite, which is the more precious form of jade. Both are hard, non porous and usually opaque, but can contain translucent to transparent bands of color.
The two types of jade are actually different minerals. Nephrite is the traditional jade that has been carved for thousands of years. This stone is found in many places worldwide. The white variety (called mutton fat jade) is considered more valuable and is fairly scarce. Green nephrite can vary in quality. The best is now found in Canada.
Nephrite is found in Siberia, Alaska, New Zealand, Taiwan and British Columbia. British Columbia is producing bright green, beautiful quality nephrite. The most common nephrite is an opaque dark green color and is usually used for gemstone beads and cabochons.
Jadeite is less common, mostly found in Myanmar (formerly Burma) and Guatemala. Jadeite can be many colors, including green, white, lavender, pink, yellow and brown. The most valuable is known as Imperial Jade, which is a transparent emerald green colored stone. It is also known as Burmese Jade.
Before humans learned to make tools and weapons with metal, using stone was the most common way to make these objects. Because it is a very hard and strong stone that can be carved or chipped to form sharp edges, jade was a preferred material for tools. At one time many household objects, tools, knives and other weapons - were made of jade. Jade has been used for carved objects for more than 6,000 years. Jade was so valued that it was used as a method of exchange - as cash. Now jade is usually used for ornamental purposes.
Jade has been traditionally believed to influence wise thinking, longevity, and tranquility. It has been believed to enhance the inner sense of balance.
Jade is used to make beautiful carvings, beads and cabochons. It looks great with gold or silver.
Jade is a tough stone and can withstand many types of cleaning compounds, but a good commercially available jewelry polish will keep your sterling or gold jewelry with jade looking great. Jade beads will usually polish up nicely when rubbed with a soft cloth or a jeweler's rouge cloth. Because it is so tough and durable, jade is very easy to care for. As long as it isn't cracked or fractured, it can withstand steam or ultrasonic cleaning.
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